Denmark Institutes First-Ever ‘Fat Tax’

  • Share
  • Read Later
George Doyle/Stockbyte

Would you think twice about indulging in Chubby Hubby if you had to pay more for a pint? Denmark hopes you will.

Even though less than 10% of Denmark’s population is considered clinically obese, which is lower that the European average, the country is tackling the ever-worsening issue of obesity by instituting the first-ever “fat tax.”

Starting Oct. 1, Danes will see a price increase in products that are high in saturated fats, which researchers at Denmark’s Institute of Food and Resource Economics have attributed to the cause of 4% of the country’s premature deaths.

(MORE: Can FoodCorps Get America to Eat Healthfully?)

Butter, oils, and high-fat dairy products will see the biggest price increases; products with more than 2.3% saturated fat will be taxed 16 kroner per kilogram ($2.90 USD) of saturated fat. Shoppers should be ready to pay up to 30% more for a pack of butter, 8% more for a bag of chips, and a liter of olive oil will cost 7.1% more than usual.

The results of this tax will no doubt be closely watched by Britain, as more than 20% of the British population is obese. According to a 2007 study by Oxford University’s Health Promotion Research Group, if this fat tax were instituted in the UK, with tax breaks given on fruits and vegetables, up to 3,200 lives could be saved.

Could a tax like this fly in the U.S.? We’ve seen improvements in healthier school lunches and all sorts of initiatives to encourage exercise and healthy eating for kids, but a nationwide tax on unhealthy foods would be the most drastic—and maybe most effective—measure in fighting obesity. The world will be watching Denmark to see whether monetary incentive will make for a healthier nation.

MORE: Arizona’s Flab Tax

Aylin Zafar is a contributor to TIME. Find her on Twitter at @azafar. You can also continue the discussion on TIME’s Facebook page and on Twitter at @TIME.

0 comments